Dr. Stefano Osella

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale)


Käte Hamburger Kolleg „Recht als Kultur“
Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung
Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”
Konrad-Zuse-Platz 1-3
53227 Bonn

Telefon: (+49) 228 / 73 540 50
Telefax: (+49) 228 / 73 540 54
Email: osella@eth.mpg.de

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Stefano Osella was a Research Fellow in the Law & Anthropology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle. Previously, he was a Post-Doctoral Global Fellow at NYU Law School in New York. He holds a Magister Juris from the University of Oxford, and an LLM and a PhD in Law from the European University Institute in Florence. His doctoral dissertation is a theoretical and comparative study of legal gender categories in the law and how such categories are imposed on individuals. He has published in the fields of human rights and comparative constitutional law, with a focus on queer theory and LGBT rights.

Stefano Osella’s main research interest relates to how individual identity is constructed in and through the law. Inspired by his academic and activist experience and personal interests, his investigations focus on how the law defines discrete gender and sexual identities, and how such definitions impact, practically and emotionally, the lives of people for whom such definitions are coined, primarily LGBTI+ people. Geographically, he concentrates on continental Europe, specifically Germany, Austria, France, and Italy. In light of the constitutional developments taking place in Latin America, however, he is developing a keen interest in the area – especially in Colombia.

Since April 2021, Dr. Stefano Osella has been a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture” in Bonn.

Research project

"The Legal Regime of Gender Categories: Autonomy, Family, Community, the Making of the Gendered Subject in Comparative Law"

This project investigates the system of gender categories, and its evolutions in a few selected western European jurisdictions. It discusses why and how gender categories are established and preserved in the law. Primarily, it unfolds how such categories and their rationales are developing vis-à-vis the affirmation of the fundamental right of the person to self-determine their own legal gender (right to gender recognition), as well as the broader socio-legal transformations in family law and gender relations. The right to gender recognition, in this context, acts as a critical factor, which unmasks the functioning and rationales of gender categories.To achieve its objective, the project investigates how the autonomy of the individual to determine their own identity in law has entered in contrast with social structures – primarily, the heterosexual family – which rely on stable and binary gender categories. Moreover, the project also analyses how, when the culture of a community changes, and the family, as well as the sexual mores, evolve, the autonomy of the individual can expand and identities can become more diverse. The project develops through the legal comparison of examples taken from a number of western European jurisdictions which, read together and against each other, offer sufficient theoretical breath for an insightful and comprehensive analysis.

Publications (selected)

  • Osella S, ‘Reinforcing the Binary and Disciplining the Subject: The Constitutional Right to Gender Recognition in the Italian Case-Law’, International Journal of Constitutional Law (2021, forthcoming).
  • Osella S (with Catto, M-X), ‘The Sexed Subject’, in Rubio-Marin, R, S Hennette-Vauchez (eds) The Cambridge Companion to Gender and the Law (CUP, 2022 forthcoming).
  • Osella S (with Rubio-Marín, R), ‘The Right to Gender Recognition before the Colombian Constitutional Court: A Queer/Travesti Theory Analysis’, Bulletin of Latin American Research (forthcoming, 2021).
  • Osella S, ‘Gender Identity and EU Law: Evolution and Open Questions’, in Stradella E (ed.), Gender Based Approaches to the Law and Juris Dictio in Europe (Pisa University Press, 2020).
  • Osella S, ‘De-gendering the Civil Status? A Public Law Problem’ (2020) 20 International Journal of Constitutional Law 471-475.
  • Osella S (with Rubio-Marín, R), ‘El Nuevo Derecho Constitucional a la Identidad de Género: Entre la Libertad de Elección, el Incremento de Categorías y la Subjetividad y Fluidez de los Contenidos - Un Análisis Comparado’ [The New Constitutional Right to Gender Identity: Adding Choice, Categories or Turning Contents Subjective and Fluid. A Constitutional and Comparative Enquiry] (2020) 40 Revista Española de Derecho Constitucional 45-75.